Tuesday, 15 April 2014 13:27

Kiwifruit winners in $2.1m boost to Maori primary sector

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FIVE PROJECTS worth over $2.1 million will add further value to increasing the productivity of Māori primary sector assets.

The Māori agribusiness projects have been approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI's) Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), from a total of 31 approved projects this year.

"MPI is dedicated to partnering with Māori to increase the value of their primary sector assets. The flow on effects of this will contribute directly into New Zealand's regional economies," says Deputy Director-General Ben Dalton.

"The five projects address a range of issues in Māori agribusiness from horticulture to improving farming practices and land restoration.

"The Tuhono Whenua project aims to lift the productivity and profitability of collectively owned Māori kiwifruit orchards in the Bay of Plenty, Northland and Gisborne.

"Using a customised orchard advisory approach, returns will be increased by more than $10,000 per hectare. Over the targeted 200ha, this will conservatively increase orchard returns by more than $2 million annually.

"The integrated management project will scale up to 15 farms in the North Island with an estimated area of 30,000ha providing a significant lift in sustainable productivity and profitability.

"A project in the Waikura Valley will look at the critical environmental risks associated with large scale active gully erosion, trialling new methods to stabilise the severely damaged area.

"This project will provide a platform for Waikura valley land-owners to participate in the development of a land management plan, recognising Māori as kaitiaki of the land that is important to future generations," says Dalton.

The Māori agribusiness projects which have been accepted into the SFF are:
Māori Incorporations/Trusts: conducting business in your sector
Integrated management to improve productivity and profitability for Māori agribusiness
Tuhono Whenua kiwifruit orchard productivity – Bay of Plenty, Northland, Gisborne
Waikura Valley land restoration project – East Coast
Farming with the environment for customers
"Māori continue to play an increasingly significant role in New Zealand's primary industry sector, as key partners in much of the country's natural resources," says Dalton.

The five Māori agribusiness projects are worth over $2.1 million, with 49% provided by the project and 51% funded through SFF.

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